Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie has become the first MLA to endorse Danielle Smith in the UCP leadership race.

He believes some of his colleagues will also be taking a good look at Smith.

"I suspect highly that she's going to be looked at closely by a number of my colleagues, and would expect  and hope, anyway, that some others will come on board."

Guthrie says she is a leader who stands by her convictions, will stand up to Ottawa, and believes in efficient government.

"With Danielle's experience and positive mindset, I feel she will be a real difference-maker to inspire change within our party."

Smith aligning her leadership bid with the grassroots movement within the UCP party.

"It was those very grassroots members that spoke up during the leadership review," says Guthrie. "They indicated they're looking for a change, they're looking for some positively, and she brings that."

Guthrie introduced and endorsed Smith at a rally in Edmonton last night (July 4) and today released a video explaining his decision. 

He says with that public endorsement, he will be assisting Smith in her campaign in any way possible.

Guthrie says he closely examined all 10 candidates and encourages all UCP members to do the same before deciding who to support.

"I felt it was important to review the candidates, check out their platform ideas, see them perform in person and on social media as well at a forum or a debate, and I've been doing just that."

Smith has an event scheduled in Cochrane on July 12 at Ducks on the Roof from 7 to 9 p.m. Whether she will be in attendance at Guthrie's Stampede Breakfast at his constituency office the next morning has not been confirmed.

Guthrie says he will be introducing her but would do the same for any UCP leadership candidate holding events in the community. Such was the case in Airdrie on June 28, when leadership candidate Todd Loewen was introduced by Airdrie-East MLA  Angela Pitt, who is campaign chair for Rajan Sawhney.

Guthrie has invited all leadership candidates to his July 13 Stampede Breakfast at his constituency office from 8 to 10 a.m. He believes there's a good chance some candidates will attend.

Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin has endorsed Travis Toews and he will be attending her Stampede BBQ on July 13 at the Wild West Centre.